Vigo County prepares for Criminal Rule 26

The state of Indiana is implementing a pretrial reform program.

Posted: Dec 6, 2019 5:56 PM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) -- Vigo county and others in the area are dealing with jail overcrowding. The issue stretches across the state. That's why Indiana's supreme court is trying to help out.

The court is educating counties on Criminal Rule 26 or the pre-trial reform project.

"There are some systemic biases that are there and have been there for a long time based on wealth," Rober Roberts, Chief Deputy Prosecutor said.

Counties across Indiana are preparing for criminal rule 26 to be implemented. Vigo county is in the next wave to start the reform program.

"Part of it is just making sure that we're treating people fairly," Roberts said.

To put it simply, the rule means some people can wait for their upcoming trial in their own home instead of in jail. It's up to the court system to decide who is a low-risk criminal and who is a high-risk criminal. The low risk are the ones who are more likely to get a pretrial release.

"There are certain types of offenders that in the past would have stayed in the jail but because they're deemed a low risk to re-offend and a low risk to reappear they may get out of jail," Roberts said. "So, that's going to be a different dynamic that people are going to be seeing in our community."

Vigo County already has something similar to help with its jail population. Indiana Supreme Court Justice Chris Goff said this new rule is just trying to get all county's to be uniform across the state.

"Vigo county is really doing a good job in many ways they're leading the state in some of the reform initiatives," Goff said.

The state says the rule is effective for all Indiana courts on January 1 of next year.

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